Saturday, January 10, 2009

Iggy & The Stooges

xerox of Stooges' Elektra Records recording contract
(page 1)
The first time I saw a Stooges record was at Harum Records in Crouch End. It looked cool so I asked Gary if he'd play a few tracks. It sounded pretty good but, at the same time, I was looking at a Jean-Luc Ponty album ('King Kong') and my meagre wages as a shelf-stacker at Tesco Supermarkets across the street only allowed for one purchase. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know...Mr. Cool...
King's Cross Cinema, London 7/15/72
photo: Mick Rock
A couple of years later, me, Peter Lloyd and his friend, Carol, decided to check out the Flamin' Groovies at an allnighter at the King's Cross Cinema. July 15th, 1972. The Stooges and The Groundhogs (I think) were also on the bill but, for us, it was all about the Groovies. At least we thought it was. Somehow, it didn't turn out that way. The only thing I remember about that particular evening was how utterly devastating the Stooges were. They came out and in one fell swoop showed me - for the first time - what in-your-face, primal, sex-beast, 3-chord rock & roll was all about. Iggy comes out dressed only in silver jeans and boots and proceeds to lay the audience to waste, particularly Richard Ogden, a popular publicist about town, in whose lap Iggy sits while he proceeds to 'serenade' him.
Iggy Pop
photo: Mick Rock
I'd just turned 19 and had grown up listening to and being heavily influenced by the Stones, the Small Faces, Them, the Pretty Things, the Who and other loud, anti-establishment weirdos but this took things to another level completely. I came out of that show with a new batch of values and Iggy had set a 'performance' standard I would rarely see again. Paul Trynka wrote THE Iggy book, 'Open Up And Bleed'. Check out his blog and some other cool links, here.
Iggy Pop
photo: Dustin Pittman
Around this time, I remember a fellow called Larry Debay aka Greenbeard (who I would later come to know as an associate of Bizzarre Records on Praed Street and Marc Zermati of Skydog fame) coming to Trident's disc-cutting room with a 7" reel with the last Stooges show from the Michigan Palace on it, but because it was in a quarter-track format (ie, the tape ran in both directions, 2 tracks in one 2 in the other) we didn't have a machine capable of transferring the tape to disc. That tape later came out as 'Metallic KO'
Iggy, Mick Rock
'Raw Power'
remix party
Studio A, Sony Music Studios, NYC

photo: ht
After the King's Cross show, I tried to see Iggy as often as possible. There was the Rainbow show when David Bowie played keyboards and I got crushed in my 3rd row seat by screaming teenyboppers trying to storm the stage. I taped two shows at the Music Machine in Camden. One (April 25th 79) - "I was a piece of dirt when youse was still readin' books!" - featured Glen Matlock on bass while the other (6/14/78) featured Fred 'Sonic' Smith on guitar.
When I worked for Island, I found a cassette of an early version of 'Kill City' (8 songs) in a cupboard and when I was at Elektra, the phone rang one day and it was
Iggy's manager, Art Collins asking if I could find some old Nonesuch Explorer albums that Iggy had probably been given by Jac Holzman or Danny Fields. I told him I'd do my best and went upstairs to see Peter Clancy who, as luck would have it, had just had a bunch of the Keith Holzman-produced series manufactured on cd for the first time. Art asked if there was anything he could do for me, so I asked him for the words to 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' in Iggy's hand-writing.
One of the perks of working at a major label was access to the vaults. I didn't abuse the privilege, but there was one idea I had that, to my surprise, ended up come out several years later through Rhino Handmade. As a present to myself, I paid Paul Rothchild's son, Dan something like $1,200 to mix all 12 reels of the 8-track 'Funhouse' masters, making sure that he preserved every note and chatter that had been recorded. I thought it might eventually make a tasty piece of art. I also asked Dan to do it twice, with the second version having the band on the left and Iggy on the right so I could have the ultimate 'karaoke' version of Funhouse, too
ticket to see Iggy at The Continental, 3rd & St. Marks Pl., NYC
Jan '93
Another time, I was in San Francisco for a convention and I brought Angel Corpus Christi to the event. Iggy was one of that evening's performers. We were amused to see him playing to a bunch of stuffed shirts, most of whom didn't like him or even know who he was, but we watched from the lip of the stage. Angel even got to kiss him during the performance. Later, in one of the suites, we took pictures.
Iggy Pop, Angel Corpus Christi
WEA Convention, San Francisco
photo: ht
The only time I ever got to speak to Ron Asheton was about 18 months ago when Blast First's Paul Smith flew me to London to see Suicide get a Mojo Award. The Stooges were also being recognized for a Lifetime Achievement Award, so I approached their table, tapped Ron on the shoulder and explained that I ran an internet radio station called (at the time) Cake and "would he do an ID, please"? He graciously obliged -

ron asheton/ID - Ron Asheton
Here's Iggy's...

iggy pop IDmp3 - Iggy Pop

'Raw Power' remix party
Studio A, Sony Music Studios, NYC

photo: ht
Finally, in 2003, as the Stooges were part way through their first US tour after reforming and six days after spending nearly a week in hospital, I went to see them at Roseland. Here's an excerpt from the diary I kept while I managed The Star Spangles:
August 27th ...Had lunch with Bob Bortnick, and hung out before going to rehearsal to meet with the SS. Ed Hamell sent me a couple of excellent reviews for his record (NY Post and Rolling Stone.) He's beginning to get some recognition (finally), Peter C Johnson’s album looks like it’s coming out on a Boston label affiliated with Morphine, Hi-'n'-Dri. Willie Nile is sending me some mixes for my comments. And the Spangles are fun to work with. Things are looking up. Went up to rehearsal with a q&a from BB Gun for each of the guys to fill out. They’re working on a Dils song, 'The Sound of the Rain' for the Alejandro Escovedo benefit. They were pleased to hear that Sheryl from the Late Show with David Letterman had called Bobbie Gale to tell her how pleased they were with the appearance. Send flowers. Got a nice message from Tom from the Phobics. He’d heard from Afonso about the h/a. Joey and Laura picked me up and we went up to Roseland. While parking, I ran into my Elektra colleague, Suzanne Berg. She’s now at Verve, doing promotion for Tommy LiPuma.
Still recouperating, I didn't want to get crushed in the crowd so I watched the show from about 50 yards back leaning against the side stage, where the VIPs were seated. It's great to see them back in action, and Iggy ends the set running/dancing all the way down the side of the room, along the VIP stage to exactly where I’m at, and proceeds to launch himself into the audience.
Onto me, and another guy.
I thought of putting a Spangles badge down the front of his (open) jeans, but the opportunity passed too quickly. It wasn’t the life-changing show it was back in 72 when I saw the Stooges at the King’s Cross Cinema with the Flamin Groovies, but it was still better than most of the stuff I see these days and great to run into my friend Eric Danville who ended up onstage, dancing like a nutter. Chatted with Dustin Pittman and his daughter, Skyler. Bought a Stooges hoody, came home.

Ron Asheton, Iggy Pop
Randall's Island, NY

photo: ht


angel corpus christi said...

we will had a real cool time. a real cool time. x0x0

Ben said...

I shall be forever envious of the fact you witnessed the Groovies and Stooges at the Scala, the best I can claim for that venue was that I sat next to most of the Birthday Party at a triple bill of Robert Mitchum pix, inc. Night of the Hunter. I first saw Iggy with Bowie at Fryers in Aylesbury, or rather i saw the back of Mick Farren's afro . . . I caught the Stooges at Hammersmith Apollo for their ATP Funhouse gig . . . after 30 odd years of listening to that album I was primed and they didn't disappoint, but when I caught them again at Minehead all of their moves were on repeat and I felt utterly cheated . . . Oh well, The Stooges will never die because they live with the immortals . . . Best, Peter

MJG196 said...

I can't believe I never saw your blog before! Thank you. The Stooges forever...